This lusciously creamy plant based Pumpkin Pie contains no eggs or dairy and is sweetened only with maple syrup.
Should I use fresh or canned pumpkin?
I like to use fresh pumpkins or squash to make pumpkin pie. We have taste tested pies made from canned puree as well as fresh pumpkin puree, and the fresh always wins for us. The fresh pumpkin pies have a significantly creamier texture, and the pumpkin taste is much more intense.
Does it take longer to make your own pumpkin puree than to open a can? Yes, of course. Is it worth it? Absolutely! …And it’s not that difficult. I realize, however, that not everyone has the time or inclination to make their own fresh puree – so if it’s a matter of convenience and you prefer to use canned pumpkin you’ll still end up with a great pumpkin pie.
How to make fresh pumpkin puree:
I like to choose squash varieties with very creamy flesh. I used Honeynut squash in our pumpkin pies, which are a cross between Butternut and Buttercup squashes. Regular Butternut will also be great, and it’s easy to find. Ultimately, any squash variety that you like is perfect.
A one and a half pound pumpkin should yield approximately 2 cups of pumpkin puree. That’s equivalent to one 15 oz can of puree.
- Rinse the outside of your pumpkin.
- Cut the pumpkin in half from stem to base. Place it cut side down and slice it into about 1 inch thick slabs.
- You may either peel the skin now, or you can bake the pumpkin with the skin still on and scoop out the flesh once it is cooked.
- Place on a cookie sheet, and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes until soft and tender.
- Remove from oven. If you left the skin on, let it cool a bit and scoop out the flesh.
- Place the cooked pumpkin in a food processor and puree until very smooth.
- Use the puree right away in any pumpkin recipe, or place in a container and refrigerate or freeze.
Blind baking the crust:
Blind baking means to partially bake the crust before you add any filling. This extra step ensures that your crust will be fully baked and crisp, and will safeguard against the dreaded soggy bottom.
I have seen some pumpkin pie recipes online that say that you can simply pour your custard into the raw crust and bake. But whether you choose to make your own crust, or use a store bought vegan crust, I highly recommend taking the time to blind bake your crust. After all, even the most sublime filling will not be very enjoyable served in a partially raw or soggy crust.
To blind bake crust:
- Roll out your crust and press it into your pie dish. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove your pie pan from the refrigerator and line with parchment paper (not wax paper – the wax will begin to melt in the heat of the oven). Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.
- Bake until pastry is set and pale golden around the edge, about 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove parchment and weights and bake shell until pale golden all over, 5 to 10 minutes more.
If you have a bit of extra pie dough, you can use it to fill in any potential imperfections in your crust after blind baking and before you pour in the filling. You can also use the extra dough to make some decorations for your pie.
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Replacing the eggs:
As with all custard pies, pumpkin pies are usually made with eggs. But guess what? Eggs are not at all necessary, and are easily replaced in most custards with a tablespoon of cornstarch per egg.
Replacing the dairy:
Typically pumpkin pie contains some type of dairy in the form of condensed milk, evaporated milk, or heavy cream. I replace the dairy with coconut cream. This should be the canned variety – not the coconut milk in a carton. Make sure to shake up the can to mix in the thick cream at the top with the liquid. I don’t like to use coconut in every single recipe to replace cream, especially if it interferes with the taste of the dish, but in this pumpkin pie recipe, the coconut flavor is undetectable.
What sweetener should I use?
I tested the pies using brown sugar as well as maple syrup. Both were very good. The maple syrup sweetened pie was a bit darker in color and had a subtle maple flavor. The choice is yours.
When it comes to the amount of sweetener, I always halve the amount usually recommended in most recipes and go from there. Most pumpkin pies use a minimum of one cup of sugar, so I experimented using half a cup as well as 3/4 cup of sugar or maple syrup. We both enjoyed the pie made with 1/2 cup of sweetener the best. It was perfect for us without being overly sweet. If you like sweeter desserts, you can go up to 3/4 cups, but I would not use any more than that amount.
Can I make my pumpkin pie ahead of time?
Pumpkin pie is best made a day (or even two) in advance, so that the filling has a chance to set before serving. Just cover and store in the refrigerator. If you happen to have some leftovers, pumpkin pies freeze remarkably well. Allow the pie to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- 1 pie crust
- 15 oz pumpkin puree about 2 cups – fresh or canned
- 1 cup coconut cream
- ½ cup maple syrup or brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp corn starch or ground flax seeds
To prepare the pie crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- If you are making your own crust, roll it out and press it into your pie dish. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Remove your homemade or store bought pie crust from the refrigerator and line with parchment paper (not wax paper – the wax will begin to melt in the heat of the oven). Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.
- Bake until pastry is set and pale golden around the edge, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights and bake shell until pale golden all over, 5 to 10 minutes more.
To make the pumpkin pie filling:
- Place the pumpkin puree, coconut cream, maple syrup, spices, vanilla and cornstarch in the bowl of a food processor, or a blender, and blend until very smooth.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Bake for about 45 minutes. The middle may still be a bit jiggly – that's ok.
- Chill before serving. May be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.